CityVille hits 22 million users in two weeks

Ronny Kerr · December 13, 2010 · Short URL:

Zynga's newest game is also the company's fastest growing game ever

CityVille, the most recently launched Zynga game, has accrued six million daily active users and 22 million monthly active users in less than two weeks, making it the fastest growing Zynga title yet.

In its first 24 hours, CityVille had attracted nearly 300,000 people to its gates, and by the end of the week, there were already three million daily active users. In no time at all, that number has doubled, meaning that growth of this Zynga game shows no sign of slowing.

For a comparison of daily active users, FarmVille took 46 days to hit six million, FrontierVille took 32 days, and CityVille took only eight.

The amazing milestones can be explained in a few ways, some more obvious than others.

First and foremost, Zynga cross-promotes its games throughout its 200 million user network. For example, a long-time FrontierVille user will see a large image advertising, “Play CITYVILLE, Zynga’s NEWEST game!” FarmVille, still the most popular Zynga title with 54 million monthly active users, is particularly targeted by the company, with specific pop-ups in CityVille urging gamers to invite their FarmVille friends to the new game.

CityVille and FarmVille

Furthermore, CityVille marked Zynga’s very first international launch. Besides English, languages supported by the game from the get-go include French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

The fact that CityVille came out later than city-building games created by nearly every major competitor on the Facebook platform appeared to take nothing from the game’s success. Zynga loves data and, with its massive store of information collected from its other games, the company has perfected the art of attracting and retaining gamers.

As I explained the last time we reported on CityVille’s impressive milestones, the game never stops suggesting that the user invite friends or share game news on the News Feed. Knowing full well that the game is probably best enjoyed socially, interacting with Facebook friends, I had tried to play the game entirely by myself, for the sake of experimentation. I don’t think I managed to play for more than 15 minutes, at which point I had built a city hall that could only be populated by friends from my social network; Zynga hadleft me with little choice than to invite friends to play with me.

This could be a big problem. According to Facebook Platform Policies for developers:

You must not incentivize users to use (or gate content behind the use of) Facebook communication channels, or imply that an incentive is directly tied to the use of our channels.

CityVille doesn’t just incentivize the use of communication channels, it pretty much demands their use. For someone with no friends on CityVille, for example, the game is largely unplayable unless that someone is willing to invite friends to play.

I’ve contacted Facebook and will update this post when reply is received.

(image source: Inside Social Games)

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit